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Fish farming around the world is one of the most lucrative businesses anyone can start and succeed in without any stress. Beyond that, most times people focus on just one type of fish farming and that is catfish farming whereas other types of fish are being consumed but not popularly farmed.
Tilapia fish is one type of fish that is commonly eaten but very few know how to raise this fish mostly because they don’t know how to go about it.
In this article, I will be sharing some tips and tricks on how to start a tilapia fish farm successfully no matter where you are in the world.
Before digging deep into how to start a tilapia fish farm, let’s take a quick look at how farming tilapia can be of good advantage.
How To Start A Tilapia Fish Farm
Many of you will be wondering why this came first rather than going straight into what you will need to start a tilapia fish farm. Well, I’m not surprised, because many people want to start a business without getting the necessary information and training.
I have made that mistake before then I realized that you cannot make money without spending money. This is why, if you want to start tilapia fish farming, you need adequate training and guidance from people that have done it and succeeded.
Unlike catfish farming, tilapia fish is more delicate to the farm which means that if you are not careful and you didn’t get the right training, you will become a failure, which I believe you don’t want to be.
Having experience in farming catfish is a good one but beyond that, get another training on how to specifically farm tilapia will help you and give you an edge over anyone else that hasn’t gone for training.
Getting trained on a particular thing is similar to going to school to obtain a degree so you can get a job. Nowadays except you have a very rich father, it will be impossible to get a job without some basic form of education.
Have A Plan
The next thing you need to start tilapia fish farming in Nigeria or anywhere in the world is to have a plan.
Who will want to start a business without a plan? Whether you want to start a small-scale farm or you want to go commercial, you will need a solid business plan.
The plan will include what you want to get into, how you will farm the fish and other questions that need answers.
Choose A Location
The third thing you need to start a tilapia fish farm is a location. Choosing a location for tilapia farming unlike catfish farming is very important and could be a determinant to whether or not you will succeed.
One of the criteria to look into before deciding the best location for farming tilapia fish is access to water. What do I mean? I advise people that want to go into tilapia fish farming that the best location to consider is a riverbank area or a place where natural water springs out i.e where you can build an earthen pond.
That does not mean you cannot farm tilapia in your backyard, you can but what that means is you will be ready to spend more money to buy some extra equipment.
Choose The Best Type Of Pond
Another thing to consider when starting a tilapia fish farm is the type of pond you will be using to raise them. There are different types of ponds you can use to farm tilapia, but some are best suitable for this purpose than the rest.
The most common and most suitable types of ponds for farming tilapia (especially commercially) are cage systems and earthen ponds. Like I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t mean you cannot raise them in concrete or tarpaulin pond, you can but you will need some other type of instrument to balance things up.
You can check this article for the different types of ponds for fish farming.
Construct Your Pond
After choosing the best type of pond, it is time to construct your pond. Just like wanting to start a catfish farm, if you don’t have access to a riverside area where you can practice the cage system of tilapia farming, you will need to construct alternative types of ponds (earthen, concrete, tarpaulin, etc).
When you decide to construct your pond, not just anyone can put that in place, it will be in your best interest to contact a professional to make this happen for you.
The reason is that, if a novice constructs a pond for you and after stocking your fish there is an issue, that will be a waste of time, resources, and money.
So, if you need professional advice and help on how to construct your pond, you can reach out to me via the Contact Us form.
Prepare Your Pond
Another thing to consider when you want to start a tilapia fish business is to prepare your pond in anticipation of your tilapia fish seedlings.
How do you prepare your pond for stocking? Well, if you are using an earthen, concrete, or tarpaulin pond, you need to disinfect the pond. In preparation for your pond, you will be needing lime and fertilization.
Provide The Right Habitation
Another step to starting a tilapia fish business is providing the right habitation for your tilapia seedlings. This is beyond just the pond they will be staying in, this includes but is not limited to having the right temperature, lighting, and oxygen.
If you are going to be raising the fish in an artificial pond (like concrete, and/or tarpaulin pond), these things should be in place. What is the right temperature for raising tilapia you may ask? Well, a temperature between 25˚C to 30 ˚C will be a regulated temperature for your tilapia to live and survive in.
Another thing to put into consideration when providing the right habitation for your habitation is lighting. This is very important because fish needs good lighting for them active. Make sure that where your ponds will have enough lighting sources for at least 80% of the day.
As much as temperature and lighting are good for your tilapia fish, another thing you need to put in place is an aerator if you are raising them in an artificial pond.
Get Your Tilapia Seedlings
After the initial preparation of building a pond and preparing the pond, it is now the time to get your tilapia seedlings.
I prefer to call them tilapia seedlings rather than the common word of fingerlings and juvenile used by catfish farmers. Getting your seedlings is more important to your success as a beginner because you don’t want a seedling that will not grow well.
Unlike catfish farming where you can get your fingerlings and juvenile from any farmer, tilapia seedlings are not like that as they are not commonly farmed on this side of the world.
You need to get your tilapia seedlings from a reputable source and not just anybody (worse off a third party) that will want to make money off you.
To get your tilapia seedlings, you can send me an email or fill the Contact Us form.
After stocking your tilapia seedlings, the next thing is for you to start feeding them. Tilapia fish eat somehow the same feed as catfish especially if you are in an area where tilapia feed cannot be easily accessed.
At their early stage when they are still like 1.5 gram to 3 gram, you can be using the most popular catfish feed for them but when they are more grown, you should find a way to look for their specific feed.
Alternatively, at the very beginning, you can be feeding them things like worms, termites, or duckweeds, likewise, you can give them supplements like vegetables, breadcrumb, and wheat germ. Feeding tilapia is not as expensive as feeding catfish.
The technique for feeding tilapia is that you should feed them twice a day (morning and evening). Make sure you don’t overfeed them, and when the feeds remain in the pond, it should be long before you evacuate the remains.
The next thing to do is to maintain constant hygiene, this is to prevent diseases and parasites on your farm.
Part of the ways to prevent diseases and parasites in your pond is by making sure the water is clean at all times, free of germs and excess feed in the pond. Doing this will not only put your mind at rest but it will also make you recoup your money when it is harvest time.
Prevent Your Seedlings From Predators
Another thing you need to do when starting a tilapia fish business is to prevent your seedlings from predators.
Like in any livestock farming, predators are all around your farm, specifically fish farming, you need to prevent your young tilapia fish from predators like birds.
How do you do this? Get a protective net to cover your pond. Doing this will prevent birds like eagles, and herons from direct access to the fish in the water.
Raising tilapia fish is closely related to raising catfish if you do it right. The harvesting period is with 5 to 6 months if you get good seedlings and you feed them well following a good mentor.
Starting a tilapia fish business should not and is not as difficult as you think is if you do it the right way. Going through the process above will make it easy for you to start tilapia fish farming successfully.
Like I always advise, start small, then after your first harvest, increase your stocking little by little till you are a guru in the business.
CHEERS to your success.